One of my favorite things that we do as a church is pray over our mission teams during the Sunday services. Whether we’re reaching out to our neighbors here in Columbia, assisting church plants in California, building houses in Puerto Rico, helping refugees in Lebanon, or reaching college students in Asia, praying for the multiplication of God’s Kingdom over teams as they leave is such an incredible blessing and privilege! I was recently able to go on the college ministry’s trip to East Asia, and as a follow up and virtual ‘thank you’ for your prayers I wanted to give a quick recap of all that we did and how we saw God move.
A primary goal of the trip was to develop relationships with college students who live in the area we went to serve.
Our desire is that the friendships we developed can then be entrusted to our Shandon partner missionary there who can continue to pour into our new friends in hopes of leading them to a Gospel conversation.
At first glance, this seems especially challenging since the overwhelming majority of locals place their trust in some combination of buddhism, ancestor worship, village-based gods, and virtually any other idol or trinket that can bring good luck. In addition to that, most people have never heard the name of Jesus before…but how awesome of an opportunity to introduce these people to our Savior and love on them in a way that totally sets us apart from everything else they have believed in!
Another objective of the trip was to host eye clinics in a neighboring city. This was an awesome, tangible way to love on the people of the city and meet a physical need. It was such a powerful thing to be there for their reactions as folks put on their new glasses and saw clearly for possibly the first time in a long time! Many were smiling as they looked down at their hands, seeing new wrinkles they didn’t know they had. Over the course of two days our team was able to diagnose and give away over 1,500 pairs of glasses - which means that over 1,500 people were in the presence of the Holy Spirit for possibly the first time ever! Please be praying now that their physical need has been met they will come to be aware of their deep spiritual need as well.
As I reflect on the week I can’t help but think about 2 Corinthians 4:
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (v.3-6)
I pray that God will continue to lift off the veil from eyes in East Asia and that the unreached people groups we were in contact with will come to know His love. That even in the darkest of places we will be a church that continues to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus and be able to witness hearts changing from the inside out; whether that is in East Asia or Columbia, South Carolina!
Thank you all for your prayers and support as they are both coveted and powerful. The multiplication of the Kingdom of God is far from over in East Asia and it is such a privilege for us as a church to play a small part of the bigger plan. I can’t wait to see how God continues to work as His people are faithful.
Here is how you can continue to pray:
Some of these new friends we made were named Ronaldo and Leo. They are roommates who are both English majors planning on teaching after college. Ronaldo loves music and teaches drums on the weekends. Leo is a laid-back guy who is never afraid to ask about the American way of life. They are both intrigued by Western culture and have shown interest in our religious beliefs, not shying away at the mention of our God. So please be praying for both Ronaldo and Leo (…and the many other students we were able to meet!) that the Holy Spirit will take hold of their lives and bring them into the fold of God as the local missionaries continue to invest in them!